Getting to know who Ben Breakspear is and what he does on a daily basis
- What made you start diving?
- What kind of profession did you do before becoming a dive instructor?
- What do you like about Malta?
- What is your dream job?
- What are your strengths as a scuba instructor?
- What is your favourite dive site around the Maltese Islands?
- What do you like to do on your days off?
- What are your goals for 2021 in diving?
- Where do you see yourself within 5 years of the diving industry?
- Have you ever failed a student during a course?
- What has been your best experience with Divewise so far?
- Describe yourself in 2 words
What made you start diving?
It was an opportunistic accident, really. In my mid-20s, I was getting bored of my current job, but had no idea what I actually wanted to do with my life. I saved up some cash and went travelling around Central America, with no specific goal in mind. In Honduras, I decided to give diving a go - it was something I’d always fancied, but never really thought too much about - and I instantly and absolutely loved it. I abandoned the rest of my travel plans then and there, scrapped my return flight, stayed and worked my way up to Divemaster, and never looked back!
What kind of profession did you do before becoming a dive instructor?
I have a degree in microbiology, and worked briefly in a lab (researching antibiotic resistant strains of E. coli), before realizing it wasn’t for me - I needed something more physical and active. I then worked in restaurants and bars for a couple of years before starting my diving career.
What do you like about Malta?
After diving primarily in the British quarries for 5 years, the sheer vibrancy and variety of dive sites is incredible. I’ve only done one season here and there are still loads more to explore, so I’m excited to see what else there is to offer!
What is your dream job?
I’ve never had a specific “dream job” in my head, but I’m always up for trying new things. You spend half of your waking life at work, so to me, the important thing is that I have an active job which I can enjoy, perform well, and take pride in - that’s why I’m here.
What are your strengths as a scuba instructor?
My patience. I’m always happy to take the time to overcome nervousness, difficulties with certain techniques, language barriers, etc. My experience helps me come up with different methods of teaching, so if one thing I’ve said or done hasn’t worked for a certain student, I’ll stay calm and reassuring, and work with them to help them approach the problem in a different way.
What is your favourite dive site around the Maltese Islands?
Santa Maria caves on Comino. Beautiful site with crystal clear waters, exciting swim-throughs and stunning topography. Loads of nudibranchs and octopuses too. Plus, I love just being on boats, so the boat journey to get there and the surface interval stop-off at the blue lagoon really completes the day.
What do you like to do on your days off?
In peak-season, when the dive centre’s really busy, the answer is easy, and I’m sure the other instructors will agree... sleep!! But when we have a bit more time on our hands I like rock climbing, running, snorkeling and swimming. My partner Susannah and I spend a lot of our days off walking and exploring the many varied and interesting places around Malta. I’m also a massive geek at heart - current video game obsession is Pokemon Go!
What are your goals for 2021 in diving?
Having just completed my Tec Deep instructor training last year, I’m keen to put that to use and increase my experience in that area. There are also loads of dive sites I haven’t visited yet, such as the HMS Stubborn - I’ve only done one season in Malta so far - so I’m itching to learn lots of new sites and increase my repertoire.
Where do you see yourself within 5 years of the diving industry?
Having run a dive centre in the UK, I’d love to put that experience to use and run a dive centre (somewhere warm this time!) with my partner Susannah (another Divewise instructor).
Have you ever failed a student during a course?
Yes, of course - but it’s never a full-on “fail”, more of a “not just yet - more work needed”... Diving courses are performance-based and everyone has different starting levels of comfort and competence in the water, so some people will need to put in more time and effort than others. If a struggling customer is willing and able to commit that extra time and effort, then I am too.
What has been your best experience with Divewise so far?
Early in the season, aboard the Sea Lion on the return voyage from my first visit to Comino. We’d had fantastic dives on two beautiful new sites, the P31 and Santa Maria caves. Happy customers, beating sun, calm seas, sea breeze, salt in my hair... And the realization that after a very stressful lockdown-related start to the year, we’d managed to make it out here after all, and that this was my actual job now... Great feeling :)
Describe yourself in 2 words